Air Force to industry: Forget the fluff baona

Government buyers often see a lack of substance and focus in what companies offer in their proposals and marketing materials. Here is some advice straight from your customer.

Few pieces of advice I hear from government speakers resonated as much as when an Air Force small business advocate told an industry audience to “forget the fluff” when they pitch themselves and their companies to the government.

Mike McWilliams, director of staff with the Air Force's small business program office, was a featured speaker today (Friday) at our Washington Technology Power Breakfast: Doing Business with the Air Force. He was there to talk about small business opportunities.

The “fluff” McWilliams was warning the audience about gets at how companies describe themselves during meetings, in proposals and in general marketing materials that get sent to government officials.

He told the story of one company that reached out to him because they had been successful in the past but were now losing competitions. That company asked him to look at an old proposal.

McWilliams agreed and found that the first 10 pages were nothing but the company talking about how great they were and nothing about how they could help the customer. He saw it as just fluff.

McWilliams offered another piece of sage advice that should help bidders avoid the fluff and focus on the customer.

He told the audience that while writing proposals, companies should have these items open in front of them: the National Security Strategy, the National Defense Strategy and the Defense Department Small Business Strategy 

His message was clear: Put your focus on the mission and how what you are proposing can help the Air Force – or any government customer – meet that mission.

McWilliams said it succinctly, “Forget the fluff.”